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NAHT's new leader stands behind exam action

The man who will lead the country's largest association of headteachers has offered his strongest endorsement yet of the boycott of key stage 2 Sats testing.

Russell Hobby, the incoming general secretary of the NAHT, has previously steered clear of expressing a view on the controversial issue of action against the tests.

But in his first address to members, at the association's annual conference, he referred directly to the industrial action, saying: "Any profession that's prepared to put passion before its own sense of security is a profession I want to stand alongside."

In a well-received speech which garnered much laughter and applause, he said it was "unacceptable" that teachers were in a situation where they "had to break the rules to do what's right".

The management consultant, who has never worked as a headteacher, also described his own experience of Sats and assessment.

He said: "I asked my son what he had learnt at school and he said, 'I learnt that I was a level 3c and I want to be a level 4.'"

Mr Hobby, who has worked closely with headteachers through his work at management consultancy Hay Group, added that he was "counting down the days" before he could get stuck into the job, replacing current general secretary Mick Brookes in September.

Mr Hobby's endorsement of the Sats boycott came after the Lord Mayor of Liverpool also offered his backing for the action.

Cllr Mike Storey, also a headteacher of Plantation Primary in the Halewood suburb of the city, added that the boycott was "absolutely correct" and backed by parents and local government.

He said: "It's up to you to make sure that the iniquitous testing we have in our schools is put in perspective. You're in a unique position to actually reshape education and hopefully you will seize that opportunity."

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